Kuwait summons US envoy over offensive tweet, urges embassy to respect laws

Kuwait's Foreign Ministry

Kuwait has summoned the US envoy over a controversial post on Twitter that celebrated the so-called LGBT Pride Month in violation of the Arab country’s laws that criminalize homosexuality.

In a tweet on Thursday, the US embassy in Kuwait said President Joe Biden is a “champion for the human rights of #LGBTQI persons” while marking the event.

Homosexuality is punishable by law in a number of Muslim-majority countries, including Kuwait.

Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Acting Assistant Minister for Affairs of the Americas Nawaf Al-Ahmad late on Thursday handed Acting Charge d'Affaire at the US embassy, James Holtsnider, a memorandum disavowing his tweet.

Al-Ahmad reminded Holtsnider of the US embassy’s obligation not to publish tweets that affront the Kuwaiti people.

The Kuwaiti foreign ministry’s memorandum pointed out to the US envoy “the necessity for the embassy to respect the country’s laws and regulations as stipulated in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.”

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an internationally-recognized framework that sets the guidelines for diplomatic relations between countries.

In addition to the rebuke by the foreign ministry, numerous people commented under Holtsnider’s tweet, condemning it for not only being “disrespectful” to the Kuwaiti people but also for promoting practices that were against the Islamic country’s laws. 

Kuwaiti MP Osama Al-Shaheen also condemned Holtsnider’s statement in a tweet.

Shaheen described the behavior of the American envoy as inappropriate. “International embassies have to value the public order of Kuwait and also its official religion,” he wrote.

Prior to Holtsnider’s Thursday tweet, the US embassy in Saudi Arabia had posted similar tweets in support of LGBT rights.

Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s holiest mosques, Mecca and Medina.

The rulers of Saudi Arabia are referred to as Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques.

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